There’s nothing harder than looking after kids when you’re tired or poorly.
Much as we love them, they’re not the most sympathetic of creatures and will still want to bounce off the walls – and expect you to join in too!
The Duracell Bunny’s got nothing on my kids, but I’ve learned a few tricks along the way to buy peace and quiet when I’m desperate.
Here are our Mumbler favourite things to do with little ones when you’re shattered, poorly, or just need a bit of time to yourself.
Build a cushion fort: Pull the cushions off the sofa and let the kids get busy! They will enjoy bouncing around on it all and it only takes a few minutes to put away later.
Have a dance party: Sit back, play some music on your phone and let them bust the moves. You could also blow bubbles, or break out some glow sticks.
Soft furnishings obstacle course: This is great if they’ve got the energy to burn! Tell them to make tunnels with cushions and other obstacles to climb and crawl across. They could pretend the floor is crocodile infested water and leap from cushion to cushion to escape! Build in challenges such as jumps/ forward rolls (if you have room!) and ball throwing.
Start a cupboard of cheap toys: My mother-in-law is a master of stashing away cheap toys and crafts for emergencies or rainy days. She often has a few of each, so no squabbling about who gets what. It works a treat and I have started my own with sticker books, fancy pens and colouring stuff, playdoh and joke toys. A Whoopie Cushion was a big hit recently!
Set a design challenge: Can they build a boat using only paper? Or an aeroplane from matchsticks? A tower from straws? Add glue, sticky tape and scissors, then sit back and enjoy the creativity.
Low effort scavenger hunt: Rainbow scavenger hunts are brilliant and keep kids entertained for ages as they run about trying to find something for each colour (and they look pretty good on instagram too!) The only effort is getting them to put them all back! Other easy hunts are for something beginning with a certain letter.
Let them put on a show: An old cardboard box makes a great theatre, but kids are inventive and will figure something out. They could enjoy acting, use puppets (or make their own!), or their hands to make shadow animals.
Have a bath with regular toys: Baths are always a brilliant distraction for my kids, especially if they choose toys that aren’t usually allowed in there. Obviously, don’t use anything electrical, and only things that are okay to get wet.
Do Yoga: Cosmic Kids is a great yoga channel on YouTube, with lots of themed yoga sessions especially for kids. Some of our favourites are Frozen, Moana and Harry Potter. Even the three-year-old gets stuck in!
Book time: Read a book with them… all cosied up on the sofa.
Play with a torch: Close the curtains, turn out the lights and hand out torches. They can make patterns on the wall, shadow animals with their hands, or go on an indoor scavenger hunt.
Build a tent under the table: An old blanket draped over the dining table makes a cool tent for the kids to hang out in. They can take in cushions and pillows to make it extra comfy, as well as a torch, snacks and water bottles, toys, colouring and anything else to keep them busy, all while you relax.
Do some role play: “Mummy’s sick- I need a Doctor!” Lie on the sofa and get them to bring you whatever you ask for to make you feel better. If they’re older you could go to a beauty spa and let them paint your nails or give you a massage. Or try the hairdressers! My daughter LOVES playing with my hair!!
Sit back and relax and enjoy a moment (but hopefully more!) to yourself!